How to Cope

By Meredith Gosda

Coping mechanisms. We all have them…

Windows down, Ben Rector playing. The newest episode of This is Us. It’s Friday? Wine night. Maybe ice cream too. That cute coffee shop with the best chai. A phone call to a beloved friend (for venting purposes). Journaling out all the emotions. Praying, desperately. Crying. Drinking. Sleeping.

I think we’re all pretty aware of the ways we cope with things. Heck, we joke about binge watching Netflix and avoiding people all the time. And just because we’re guilty of doing these things, doesn’t mean they’re all bad. In fact I think Ben Rector is really, really good (especially with the windows down). And yet, we find ways to cope because the truth is, there’s a lot going on around us, and in us. Often times it feels like we just need another glass of wine or a hug.

Yet, we’d be doing an injustice to ourselves if we left it at that. If we clicked on that 5th episode of Friends without asking, “Is there something wrong?” Yes we are physical beings, but we are also spiritual ones. And sometimes it's easier to just distract ourselves with physical comforts in order to avoid looking into the messier aspects of our life.

Christ does not ask us be perfect in the sense we think of. He asks us to “be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). The perfection of Christ is a perfection of completion—wholeness. A Perfection that desires us to be intact—spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. It's not our version of peace or perfection we need. Christ desires to be our ultimate comfort, and His comfort restores us in a way no amount of fashion blogs, foodie trucks, or Oscar flicks ever could. The truth is Satan can’t compete with a woman wholly alive, with her goodness shining forth like the dawn. And you better believe he’ll be subtle in the ways he tries to distract you from that wholeness.

I don’t think we can we be whole if we are ignoring what’s causing us to binge, or spend, or drink. I think it’s okay, good even, to face the discomfort of that break-up or the job that’s not what you expected. Bring it before the Lord if for no other reason than to let Him comfort you there. I am often guilty of thinking God only works in my life during the good times, but I now know that He is at work even in those unsettled parts of my heart.

The darkness of our worries, anxieties, and unfulfilled dreams can be fearsome. But He promises us that He will be with us there, and “will not leave us orphans” (John 14:18) We’re too good at covering up issues with tiny band-aids, when in reality we need the Divine Physician to do some healing. It might be painful, but wholeness trumps half-ness, every time.